Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Author

YihFang Pan

Publication Date

1-28-2015

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to apply the lens of social reproduction theory to explore how English language educators view English language education (ELE) and to understand how the English language is used to create social distinctions between Taiwanese English language educators and others in Taiwanese society. Unlike other foreign languages, English enjoys a unique status and prestige in Taiwan because it is the preferred language for international communication. The belief in social mobility is the rationale for learning the English language. This study examines how the predominance of the English language creates internal conflicts and competition among groups. The role of ideology in language reveals how individuals make sense of the social order. From the outside, it seems that Taiwanese people benefit by learning English because it will lead to better jobs, but it is important to look within and among Taiwanese sub-groups and to acknowledge who truly has benefited from current English language policies. The approach taken in this study was to use qualitative methods. The data included two individual interviews with 15 elementary English teachers, one focus group discussion, journal writings, and analysis of ELE documents produced by the participants schools and the Taiwanese Ministry of Education. The findings from this study reveal that English teachers rationalized the problematic educational policies toward students by perpetuating the value of dominant cultural capital and by blaming working-class parents' neglect of ELE. The study concludes that participants' conforming to English skills (four domains, i.e., reading, writing, speaking, and listening) is a form of cultural and linguistic capital that has become a key to social mobility and stratification in Taiwan.'

Keywords

English language education, Social reproduction, Cultural capital

Document Type

Dissertation

Language

English

Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree

Doctoral

Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Advisor

Allen, Ricky

First Committee Member (Chair)

Celedón-Pattichis, Sylvia

Second Committee Member

Trinidad Galván, Ruth

Third Committee Member

Kawai, Yuko

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